Spiralling numbers of children needing care in Northamptonshire has prompted the county council to launch an urgent bid for foster carers to step forward,
Latest figures suggest there are now close to 1,000 looked after children in the county, which the authority says is partly due to improved processes in identifying youngsters at risk and the increasing number of children coming into the county, both from within the UK and abroad.
It has now launched a recruitment campaign to encourage more people to think about becoming a foster carer.
As almost half of the children in care in Northamptonshire are aged between 13 and 18, so there is a particular need to find foster parents for teenagers.
County council cabinet member for families and learning, Councillor Matthew Golby, (Con, Duston West and St Crispin) said: “We simply don’t have enough foster carers, so we have to use expensive independent fostering agencies for some placements.
“We need to address this and that’s why we are asking people to consider whether they could foster a child.”
Councillor Golby said that while looking after teenagers comes with “many challenges,” he said the rewards “far outweigh these.”
“There’s nothing more rewarding than knowing you’ve helped a teenager reach key milestones as they grow up,” he added.
“I would encourage anyone who thinks they could offer a stable, loving home to a looked after child to contact our fostering team to find out more.”
There are different types of fostering available, including short term, permanent, emergency foster care, remand foster care, providing homes for siblings or even short breaks for parents of children with disabilities.
However the county council offers training and support packages and carers receive a weekly payment, which the authority says, is higher than the government recommended rates.
To find out more, visit www.fosterme.co.uk, call 0300 126 1009 or go to an information evening on Wednesday January 20, at John Dryden House in The Lakes, Northampton.